Welcome to the Cutting (& Stitching) Edge, where we showcase people whose embroidered creativity is fresh and new!
Lottie Liggins is a UK-based hand embroiderer who uses found materials in combination with typographic stitching to create a modern nostalgia.
How did your technique evolve?
My technique began to evolve in the first lockdown. I had always been into collaging but had a little more spare time to experiment with it. I had already collected a box of vintage photographs from my collage work. In the box included a set of old polaroids. They were something I’d put aside for a while as I thought they were too small to work with. After a while I decided to start experimenting by stitching straight into them, later developing into the floral series ‘Blooming 60s’. I loved how delicate and pretty they looked. I also got a buzz from enhancing the beauty of something that had been tossed – almost like giving them a new lease of life. I decided to start focusing on embroidery and different stitches to improve my work. Once I had perfected the French knot … the rest followed.
Where do you think your creativity is taking you?
When I first started sewing by hand into paper, I was really conscious of rips and tearing, one small mistake can pull all the stitches out and ruin the whole piece. Since then, I’ve gained a lot more confidence with my practice and have managed to avoid tears, or at least been able to save a piece from ripping. As a result I am now looking forward to creating work with more detail and depth with more colours. I love ‘hand lettering’, so I am working on creating some designs that follow more detail.
What other artists inspire you?
Julie Cockburn! Her work is insane, the way she uses colours and the skill that goes into making each one of her pieces is ridiculous. I also look up to the work of lettering artist Jessica Hische. Her work and delivery is stunning!
What is your favourite tool to use in your practice?
My favourite tool/s is DMC’s six-stranded threads, I love them! They come in so many gorgeous colours/shades and unlike other cheaper threads, they don’t split and tuft avoiding any potential paper rips. I wouldn’t use anything else now.
Can you share one creative tip with our readers?
My one tip, as simple as it may be, is to take your time. Doing any kind of delicate/precise work such as this takes time. I’m guilty of wanting to rush a piece when I start to see results because I get so excited to see it finished, but that’s when mistakes happen. Hand embroidery in general does need a little patience and practice, especially if you’re wanting to experiment with sewing into paper, but the results at the end are so worth it!
What’s your philosophy on French knots, which are the bane of many stitchers’ existences!
I honestly haven’t always had such a great relationship with French knots. It was one of the first stitches I’d tried when I first delved into embroidery and it’s not wrong to say that it’s a bit of frustrating one to master. Once I’d finally got the knack of them though I found them so flexible to work with. Other than that, I just love the way they look (as a collective) and feel. If you’ve got that bit of extra time (I say loosely), they are worth the patience.
Lottie’s work has a flavour of modern nostalgia that reminds me of Shaun Kardinal or Melissa Zexter, yet her technique gives the work it’s own voice, and for anyone who has ever picked up needle, it’s somewhat humbling.
French knots are not for the faint of heart, and yet Lottie has tamed them and coerced them into satisfying typographical forms. While it remains early days for Lottie’s artistic journey, she’s off to a flying start and it’s going to be a thrill to see where she goes from here.